McREL

www.mcrel.org
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McREL Reviews

Updated February 17, 2015
Updated February 17, 2015
18 Reviews
2.8
18 Reviews
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Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Great ideals, have difficulty in follow through

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Consultant in Denver, CO
    Current Employee - Consultant in Denver, CO

    I have been working at McREL full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    I've been working at McREL for more than 10 years. McREL has some of the best people in education working together to make a real, positive difference for everyone involved. Very intelligent, dedicated, and motivated staff. The benefits and salaries are very competitive, and the working environment is great, especially for a non-profit. The work can be extremely rewarding, as McREL truly can make huge differences to educational practice.

    Cons

    The work done at McREL is usually contract work. If you're not working on a contract, you're probably not going to be working at all. A lot of pressure is placed on the workers to be on a contract, but then many of the workers are not given the tools or support they need to get contracts. McREL can be seen as very expensive, so many districts and states can't afford us. The great salaries, benefits, and working environment come at a cost, and that makes it very challenging to get the work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If employment is predicated on having contracts, give employees the tools they need to get those contracts. If you don't want to lose people due to a short term lack of work, make it more acceptable to work without an active contract for the short term. The stress of being held accountable for something that we're not allowed to do is incredible. Make sure work is distributed fairly - some people are working too much, while others are working too little. I'm glad the overhead is going down - that's a good trend, and hopefully will mean more contracts.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  2.  

    Tread Cautiously

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at McREL

    Pros

    Compensation and benefits packages are above adequate. Supervision is relatively unstructured and a charade (not sure if that is a pro or a con--I listed as a pro because I thought potential employees would look at it as a pro) Vacation and leave policies are commensurate with other US companies.

    Cons

    In the inteview process you are told of the nuimerous individuslas who have been with the company for over 10 years and how satisfied everyone is as an employee. Well, this company of ~100 employees has lost 25%-30% of those employees in the last calendar year; including: 10+ year head of HR, senior researchers, and directors of research, to name a few. It remains unclear whether the leadership is restructuring in an effort to grow the business of to push people out and poise the company for acquisition. Also, do not let the 501(c)(3) designation throw you off: you will encounter more business plans and coporate speak than a Saturday Jim Collins workshop at the airport Hilton. For some, that is perfect, but if you are looking to work for an education non-profit, this is likely not what you have in mind. There is overwhelming talk of being innovative and cutting edge, but the innovative ideas they come up with revolve around loosening up the jeans policy on casual Friday,
    Aside from those big picture things, some day-to-day stuff should also be brought to the attention of potentioal employees: significant server problems abound. Meaning processing a timesheet or expense report can take literally half of your day, and this seems to be of little concern to anyone. So sometimes you have to put all of your work on hold and mess with this program that has an interface similar to IE on windows 95 for half of the day (see the aforementioned innovative comment for inorny's sake). Also, so that potential employees know, International for this company=putting 2 non-US consultants on payroll. So please realize that both the 'nonprofit' and 'international' designations are only in the most technical definitions of the words

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Put your synergy connecting business modeling on hold until you can figure out how to provide some actual leadership to the people who work effortlessly for you

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  3.  

    No job protection

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Researcher in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Researcher in Denver, CO

    I worked at McREL full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Paid to investigate important issues that impact educational outcomes. Dream job.

    Cons

    Too much work and too little time. As salaried employee, worked until job was done. "At will" state so could be fired for any reason.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Community building activities to promote staff camaraderie and collaboration is not a waste of time. It can promote a positive work environment and enable staff to work more efficiently and effectively.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
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  5.  

    Great People and Great Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO

    I have been working at McREL full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    The staff is McREL is comprised of some of the smartest and hardest working people I have ever worked with. The quality of the work is consistently high.

    Cons

    This is a soft money organization and as such, we have to pursue grants and RFPs. For some this is hard.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  6.  

    Don't believe all the negative reviews!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Denver, CO

    I have been working at McREL full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Commitment to improving education-determination to make itself a competitive employer in terms of benefits,salaries. Morale boosting events are created on a quarterly basis at least

    Cons

    Work life balance-commitment by leadership to make this a priority-consider a useful telecommuting policy

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    A research company that has ignored every bit of data and information about employee unhappiness and turnover.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Honolulu, HI
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Honolulu, HI

    I have been working at McREL full-time

    Pros

    The work is for a great purpose. People believe in the purpose and are committed to that purpose.

    Cons

    By all indications, there has been near continuous turnover in this office and all signs point to the same underlying causes. All concerns have consistently been dismissed with all of the complaints brushed away as misperceptions. Complaints have been made to supervisors, to the director, to human resources, and to the very top of the organization and on several occasions by several people. Nothing has changed. It is clear that some benefit from their relationships with leadership no matter the quality of their work or their actual contributions. This is demoralizing as it shows that merit is highly subjective. The hiring practices have been suspect with people interviewing for one position but being assigned to something completely different. The reputation in the research community is terrible as we are known to be unresponsive and untimely and a growing sense of mediocrity. What's worse is that the Honolulu office has been around for more than three years and there are many in our local education community who have never heard of the organization or the work that we do. If not for the support system of coworkers who try to remain committed to the work (not the organization), the situation would be intolerable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    What can be said to management that management hasn't already heard once, twice, three times and more?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Playing Ostrich-ignoring the current "state of the state"

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at McREL full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    I met some of the most talented, intelligent people ever.

    Cons

    When the opportunity did arise, I was honored to collaborate with people who had the highest expertise and experience of anyone I'd ever known. However, collaboration in this company was a myth. What actually existed was a competitive climate in which everyone fought to keep contracts to themselves (especially one's supervisor who was supposedly tasked with finding work for their supervisees). Although we endured rigorous screening when applying for the position, our skills were immediately hidden and never utilized. I served on the ODAC (Organizational Development) and discovered that input solicited from staff was NEVER shared with them after the fact, especially if there were concerns brought to the attention of leadership. There are probably less than 25% of the staff tasked with earning money for the company while 75% create the exorbitant overhead. Coming to work for McREL was supposed to be my swansong in a lifetime of education, a way to know that I definitely made a difference. Unfortunately, on a bright, sunny day in April 2013, I received an unexpected visit from top management who summarily (and without known cause) laid me off.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop living in the past. Education is changing and so should you, but you insist on hanging on to your past. You are a sinking ship, and people know it and choose to leave rather than go down with the rest of you.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Thoughts from Former Employee.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at McREL full-time

    Pros

    Very talented people, committed CEO, caring colleagues, strong focus on mission, meaningful work

    Cons

    Management structure that offers more opportunity to a few particular men. Other senior staff are given less authority. Staff are assigned to conduct or pursue new work and often don't bring the right experience to do the work. The HR management style is dated and do not use modern tools for recruiting and don't have interest in improving hiring efficiency. There were also a few long time employees that were drags on the organizational climate that should have been dismissed and probably still haven't when I worked there.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Think about why people leave. Some of them might be good information. For most of us, people liked the organization and the people who worked there. I just didn't see a place to grow.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  10.  

    Professionally fulfilling and personally enjoyable

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at McREL full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Leadership at McREL have a vision for moving the company forward to both grow the company and improve practice in the field. Although a non-profit, leadership and staff at McREL pay attention to both achieving mission and running a sound business. Tough decisions are made and attention is paid to execution. Staff are the best in the education business. Leadership have experience and commitment to the organization and the field. Compensation and benefits are outstanding. McREL is an exciting place to work where effort and expertise truly make a difference inside and outside the organization.

    Cons

    The balance of business with mission is sometimes uneasy and it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page with decisions affecting one or the other.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    McREL is on the right track. The right decisions are being made and the talent at McREL is unbelievable. McREL is small enough to make clear, transparent communication doable and critical.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    McREL Response

    May 6, 2014Chief Human Resources Officer

    Thank you so much for this feedback! McREL International strives to be an innovative, exciting workplace with strong collegial relationships and a mission to make a difference in the lives of ... More

  11.  

    Great in Education, Not Great at Business

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at McREL full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    I think McREL's greatest value is the staff. I've never worked with a warmer and friendlier bunch. McREL also attracts some of the brightest minds in education and I believe their products and services are top notch.

    The salary is competitive and the benefits are unmatched, particularly the retirement plan. The space is beautiful and newly updated and every employee gets their own office, no cubes.

    As a non profit, they care more about improving education than improving the bottom line.

    Cons

    Well...as a non profit they care more about education than the bottom line. McREL's achille's heel has been project cost overruns, bloated overheads, and a top heavy organizational structure. These three things undermine the financial stability of the company. I don't believe any of these things are due to lack of effort or malicious intent, I just think that since the majority of the company are educators there is a palpable dearth of business acumen. It truly is a double edged sword. If it were not for the financial instability McREL would get a 5 star review from me as I really enjoyed working there.

    I was in office, so work life balance was fine for me, though admittedly a good portion of the staff are "road warriors" that travel very frequently, as with any consultancy company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Lock down overhead costs and grow horizontally, not vertically.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    McREL Response

    May 6, 2014Chief Human Resources Officer

    We’re happy that we have maintained a reputation for being a workplace of strong collegial relationships and excellent benefits.

    Your comments about overhead costs are well-received, and this is
    ... More

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